Renowned linguist uncover the secrets of the famous Russian unsmiling.
Foreigners are constantly told that the Russian - surprisingly unsmiling people write about it in blogs and guidebooks, ask in person, tell all your friends and acquaintances. Indeed, we smile much less other nationalities, but, as it turned out, we have to it have their reasons.
Renowned scientist, Professor Joseph Sternin calls one of the features of the Russian character household unsmiling and explains its several factors. Here are excerpts from an article by the linguist, which sheds light on some of the strangeness of the mysterious Russian soul.
1. A smile in Russian communication is not a signal of courtesy. Western smiles during a welcome means pure politeness. The more a person smiles the more friendliness he wants to show his partner. Constant polite smile in Russian called "duty smile" and is considered a sign of bad human manifestation of his insincerity, secrecy, unwillingness to find true feelings. Russian smile - is a sign of personal sympathy, and not polite.
2. The Russian did not smile at strangers. Smile in Russian communication is addressed mainly familiar. It is therefore not a saleswoman smiling customers - they do not know them. If the buyer sign the saleswoman, she told him necessarily smiles!
3. Russian atypically smiling back. If Russian sees smiling to him / her a stranger, he would certainly be fun to find the cause. Maybe something in his / her clothing or hairstyle made this type so much fun.
4. To Russian smiled, it should be for this reason enough obvious to others. It gives a person the right to smile - from the point of view of others. In Russian, there is a unique saying that is not in other languages: "Laughter for no reason - sign fool».
5. Russian unsmiling man (that's unsmiling, not gloom - Russian mostly funny, cheerful and witty) and supported by Russian folklore, where we find a lot of proverbs "against" laughter and jokes. From the dictionary by Vladimir Dal "Proverbs of the Russian people" - Joke to no good arguments. - And laughter leads to sin. - Humpday. - Sometimes laughter crying responds. - In truth there are no jokes. - Joke lead to no good.
6. Do not accepted Russian smile on duty, in the performance of any serious business. For example, customs officers at airports never smile as busy serious business. This feature is unique Russian smile.
7. Russian smile is designed to only be sincere, it is regarded as a sincere expression of good mood or location to the other party.
So, if you smile a foreigner - it does not mean anything, he was taught to smile at everyone, and if Russian smiled, it was only because they really wanted it.
According to the article I.A.Sternina
"Peculiarities of Russian smiles"